SVV and I returned to Tennessee last week after an uber-relaxing eight-day vacation with my family. Although you might not actually believe me—I know, I know, you all think that all I do is vacation for a living (news flash: not true!)—it’s the first vacation time I’ve taken since we were in Florida in early-March, and even then, I spent the majority of my time inside on the computer working on various projects.
As it turns out, the worst part of being self-employed is that you can never really set up an auto-response to say, “I will be out of the office on vacation. Please e-mail Penelope with any immediate questions or problems, and I’ll get back to you when I return.” No, that all falls on you. And as such, you’re never ACTUALLY out of the office. I won’t say I completely logged offline this time either—I spent much of my sunning hours responded to work emails on my iPhone—but I did spend a solid couple of hours working on my tan daily and managed to whittle down my reading list marginally (Gone Girl, An Abundance of Katherines, Gold).
So why Florida again? Well, my cousin Andrew is an ER doctor and relocated to Destin with his lovely wife Kelly from Birmingham last month. Naturally, our family saw this with stars in their eyes: VACATION SPOT! We’ve been vacationing in South Walton since I was 12 years old—and in Orlando all the years before that—and often with Andrew, his twin Rebecca and their big brother John. We’ve always been a tight-knit clan.
We’ve also had such success vacationing with our pals Tom and Ginny in the past that we thought we should make this a ritual. So the two of them, their daughter Mallory and her son Gabe joined SVV, my sister Kari, my mom, my dad and me in a four-bedroom condo just a couple miles from Seaside. It was glorious. In fact, they all stayed an extra week and just returned yesterday—this is me being green with envy—and instead of being a spoiled brat about the fact that they got two fantastic weeks while SVV and I have to return for meetings and the like, I’m just going to look at it like this: We had eight amazing days in a gorgeous spot with fantastic people. And really, you can’t beat that.
I often get asked “so where does a travel writer go on vacation? What does she do?” Well, I can’t speak for all of my kind, but I will reveal that here’s what a typical vacation with the Lunas & Co. looks like:
Bourbon. A lot of it. Hey, we’re a lot of things, but we’re still Southern at the core.
Game nights. Balderdash used to be our game of choice; these days, it’s Cranium for the pure comic value.
One hysterical father. Yes, he bought this monkey shirt at Wal-Mart just for the occasion.
Game nights and bourbon (for us; scotch for him) with one hysterical father.
Golf (for the men). No big surprise, but the majority of their vacation centered upon being out on the links.
Catching up with old friends (for the girls). One of my dearest childhood pals, Andrea, is a hotshot lawyer in Florida, so it’s always a treat when her work schedules allows her a night out with us.
Quality time with the pooch. Ella loves a vacation as much as the next pup.
Quality time with the sister. She starts work as a CPA for a Big Four firm in Charlotte soon, so we have to enjoy her while we can!
Really cute kids. I mean, really, they don’t get more precious (or genius) than these two little girls.
Cousins’ weekend. Granddaddy was the only “adult” allowed to stick around for the fun. And OK, that too had game nights and bourbon.
Neon tanks, too! As my cousin John would say, they’re “a lifestyle.”
Cabana boys in neon tanks. One being my husband, the other three my cousins. Still, beggars can’t be choosers.
A lot of time spent keeping cool in the water.
And one really kick-ass family.